Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor in the Lifetime movie Liz & Dick. Lohan, 26 next July 2, plays Elizabeth Taylor (apparently) at about the time she met Richard Burton in the early 1960s. (Though the Lohan/Taylor picture above looks like something out Richard Brooks’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Lohan as Maggie the Panther.) Grant Bowler, best known for True Blood and the box office and critical cataclysm Atlas Shrugged: Part I, plays Richard Burton.
The make-up job looks quite impressive, helping to transform Lohan into Taylor. We’ll see – or rather, hear – if Lohan is able to reproduce Taylor’s tones as well.
A tabloid queen in her heyday, Elizabeth Taylor won two Best Actress Academy Awards: Daniel Mann’s Butterfield 8, 1960; Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966. Taylor was nominated three other times: Edward Dmytryk’s Raintree County, 1957; Brooks’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958; and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Suddenly Last Summer, 1959.
Lindsay Lohan hasn’t been nominated for any Oscars yet, but … well, she has won an MTV Movie Award for her performance in the 2004 hit Mean Girls. And let’s not forget that she’s a Gotham Award and SAG Award nominee as part of the ensembles in, respectively, Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion and Emilio Estevez’s Bobby.
Directed by Lloyd Kramer (the TV movie David and Lisa) and written by Christopher Monger (Just Like a Woman / The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain), Liz & Dick airs in October 2012. Also in the Liz & Dick cast: David Hunt, Tanya Franks (as Sybil Burton, Richard Burton’s wife at the time of Cleopatra), Massi Furland, Taylor Gerard Hart, and Henri Hereford.
Elizabeth Taylor tried to stop ‘Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story’
In Kevin Connor’s 1995 TV movie Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story, Sherilyn Fenn played Elizabeth Taylor. Nigel Havers was husband no. 2, British actor Michael Wilding; William McNamara was Montgomery Clift; Angus Macfadyen was Richard Burton; Corey Parker was Eddie Fisher; Katherine Helmond was Hedda Hopper; Daniel McVicar was Rock Hudson; Ray Wise was husband no. 3, Michael Todd; Judith Jones was Debbie Reynolds; Eric Gustavson was husband no. 1, Nicky Hilton; Patricia North was Richard Burton’s then-wife Sybil Burton; and Kevin McCarthy was producer Sol Siegel. At the time, Taylor unsuccessfully sued to prevent the showing of Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story.
Not that long ago, Catherine Zeta-Jones was to have played Elizabeth Taylor in a Montgomery Clift biopic. Zeta-Jones looks as much like Taylor as, say, My Week with Marilyn‘s Julia Ormond looks like Vivien Leigh. (I think Jennifer Connelly would’ve been a better choice for either Taylor or Leigh.) But then again, if Michelle Williams could be transformed into Marilyn Monroe, anything is possible. (This is no putdown on Williams, who is remarkable in her own way.)
Now, is Lesley-Anne Down available to play Elizabeth Taylor in her later years? Or maybe Elizabeth McGovern?
Lindsay Lohan Elizabeth Taylor movie Liz & Dick (Grant Bowler as Richard Burton)
Lindsay Lohan’s Elizabeth Taylor movie Liz & Dick, to be shown on Lifetime, has its first official photo. Lohan does look like Taylor; whether or not Atlas Shrugged: Part I‘s Grant Bowler passes for Richard Burton is unclear, as he seems to be playing Christopher Lee in the above pic.
Much has been said about how absurd it was to cast Lindsay Lohan, of rehab and courtroom notoriety, to play one of the most glamorous stars Hollywood has ever produced. What those people seem to forget – or be ignorant about – is that Elizabeth Taylor, long before she became a Dame of the (now-moribund) British Empire, long before her AIDS Foundation, and not that long before her two Oscar wins, was considered by many to be a selfish, reckless “whore.”
True, Taylor received four back-to-back Oscar nominations in the late 1950s – including a 1960 win, for surviving a tracheotomy (and for Butterfield 8) – but her personal life had tongues wagging, fingers pointing, prudes proselytizing, and the media busy selling the latest “dirty” gossip item.
Elizabeth Taylor: The gossip rags’ Lindsay Lohan of the ’50s and ’60s
Shortly after the death of her third husband, Around the World in 80 Days producer Michael Todd, 26-year-old Elizabeth Taylor became involved with family friend Eddie Fisher, who at the time just happened to be married to All-American Girl Debbie Reynolds of Singin’ in the Rain and Tammy and the Bachelor fame. A couple of years after “stealing” Fisher from Reynolds, Taylor began an affair with Richard Burton while filming Cleopatra on location in Italy.
Partly as a result of Taylor and Burton’s demands and overall behavior on the set, costs on Cleopatra – already a troubled production – soared. Things got so out of control that the nearly-bankrupt 20th Century Fox sued the couple for $50 million.
Now, it’s also worth remembering that Lindsay Lohan can be quite an effective actress. As far as I’m concerned, Lohan is the best thing about Robert Altman’s last movie, A Prairie Home Companion.
Directed by Lloyd Kramer (the TV movie David and Lisa) and written by Christopher Monger (Just Like a Woman / The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain), Liz & Dick premieres in October. Also in the Liz & Dick cast: David Hunt, Tanya Franks (as Sybil Burton, Richard Burton’s wife at the time of Cleopatra), Massi Furland, Taylor Gerard Hart, and Henri Hereford.
Lindsay Lohan / Grant Bowler / Liz & Dick photo: Lifetime.
Liz & Dick‘s Lindsay Lohan / Elizabeth Taylor picture: Lifetime.
Grant Bowler / Richard Burton: Liz & Dick
Grant Bowler as Richard Burton in Lifetime’s fall movie Liz & Dick looks less convincing than Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor. Burton met Taylor at the time the two were making Cleopatra for 20th Century Fox.
A troubled production, Cleopatra was initially to have starred Taylor, Peter Finch, and Stephen Boyd, under the direction of Rouben Mamoulian. Mamoulian left, Taylor fell seriously ill, nearly died, and had to have a tracheotomy performed. The end result was a Best Actress Academy Award for her troubles (and for Butterfield 8) and brand new leading men for Cleopatra: Richard Burton as Marc Antony and Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar. By then, Cleopatra also had a new director: two-time Best Director Oscar winner Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
A respected stage and screen actor in the ’60s, Richard Burton was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Best Supporting Actor for My Cousin Rachel (actually a leading man role, opposite Olivia de Havilland), 1952, and Best Actor for the following: Henry Koster’s The Robe, 1953; Peter Glenville’s Becket, 1964; Martin Ritt’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, 1965; Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966; Charles Jarrott’s Anne of the Thousand Days, 1969; Sidney Lumet’s and Equus, 1977.
Of Burton’s dozen movies or so with Elizabeth Taylor, only Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was considered a truly prestigious production. Also, Cleopatra had its admirers (the mammoth epic received a much-derided Best Picture Oscar nomination) and so did Anthony Asquith’s all-star ensemble drama The V.I.P.s.
Grant Bowler has appeared in only a handful of feature films, among them the box office and critical disaster Atlas Shrugged: Part I, released last year. Bowler has been luckier on television, landing recurring roles in Blue Heelers, Adrenaline Junkies, Something in the Air, All Saints, Canal Road, Outrageous Fortune, Ugly Betty, and True Blood.
Directed by Lloyd Kramer (the TV movie David and Lisa) and written by Christopher Monger (the TV movie Temple Grandin / Hugh Grant’s The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain), Liz & Dick airs in October 2012. Also in the Liz & Dick cast: David Hunt, Tanya Franks (as Sybil Burton, Richard Burton’s wife at the time Cleopatra was made), Massi Furland, Taylor Gerard Hart, and Henri Hereford.
Liz & Dick / Grant Bowler as Richard Burton picture: Lifetime.
Vanessa Redgrave Lesbian Supreme Court Judge: ‘Political Animals’
Political Animals, USA Network’s upcoming series by Greg Berlanti, has invited Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave to play an openly lesbian Supreme Court Justice. Political Animals stars three-time Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish, who, like Hilary Clinton, is a former American First Lady turned Secretary of State.
Now, how did an openly lesbian judge join the Supreme Court of the early 21st-century United States, a country where most Republican politicians (and their millions of supporters) continue to take a strong stance against gay rights? Or is Political Animals set in 2030 or whereabouts? And will Vanessa Redgrave’s lesbian Supreme Court Justice vote on the constitutionality of anti-marriage equality (a.k.a. “anti-gay marriage”) laws in states such as Arizona and North Carolina? Stay tuned.
In addition to Sigourney Weaver and Vanessa Redgrave, who won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her titular performance in Fred Zinnemann’s Julia (and whose highly political Oscar acceptance speech caused a furor back in early 1978), Political Animals also features Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Carla Gugino, Sebastian Stan, Adrian Pasdar, Dan Futterman, Ciarán Hinds, Dylan Baker, and James Wolk. Political Animals premieres on July 15.
In addition to her Oscar win for Julia, Vanessa Redgrave has been nominated five other times: Best Actress for Karel Reisz’s Morgan (1966) and Isadora (1968), Charles Jarrott’s Mary Queen of Scots (1971), and James Ivory’s The Bostonians, and Best Supporting Actress for Ivory’s Howards End (1992).
Vanessa Redgrave photo source: Playbill.com.
‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ 2012: The Lizard Menaces Emma Stone
In this The Amazing Spider-Man clip you get to see The Lizard – well, at least his silhouette. Much more in evidence is Emma Stone, who hides under a desk (I think) so as not to be detected by the long-tailed intruder. Do things go as planned? Well, have you ever watched a movie in your life? If you have, you know where The Amazing Spider-Man clip is headed long before you finish watching it. (Please scroll down.)
The Amazing Spider-Man opens July 3. (500) Days of Summer‘s Marc Webb directed from a screenplay by Spider-Man 2 / Spider-Man 3‘s Alvin Sargent, Zodiac‘s James Vanderbilt, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ Steve Kloves.
In addition to Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, and Rhys Ifans as The Lizard, The Amazing Spider-Man features The Exorcism of Emily Rose‘s Campbell Scott as Peter Parker’s father (which, of course, means that Peter’s grandparents were George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst),two-time Oscar winner Sally Field (Norma Rae, Places in the Heart) and Badlands’ Martin Sheen.
Also: Shark Night 3D‘s Chris Zylka, The Secret Lives of Dentists’ Denis Leary, Life of Pi‘s Irrfan, Red Dawn‘s C. Thomas Howell, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Embeth Davidtz, and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee.
Martin Sheen, Sally Field / The Amazing Spider-Man photo: Jaimie Trueblood / Columbia Pictures.
Troubled zombie movie World War Z taps Prometheus screenwriter
World War Z screenplay problems: Prometheus co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof has been tapped for rewrites on Paramount’s (reportedly) $125 million-budgeted World War Z. Starring Brad Pitt (photo), and directed by Finding Neverland‘s Marc Forster, the sociopolitical horror thriller about a zombie outbreak – which some of its talent has compared to All the President’s Men and The Bourne Identity – was shot in Europe last year.
Based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, World War Z was initially adapted by J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling, Thor), who was later replaced by Matthew Michael Carnahan. Carnahan’s previous screenwriting credits consist of three contemporary political dramas/thrillers, none of which were commercially successful: Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs, starring Tom Cruise; Kevin Macdonald’s State of Play, with Ben Affleck; and Peter Berg’s The Kingdom, which turned out to be one more box office dud starring Jamie Foxx.
World War Z rewrites in the fall
According to The Hollywood Reporter, World War Z “is awaiting significant reshoots,” which should begin in late summer or early fall 2012. The Reporter adds that the key issue is be film’s final act. Somewhat ironically, Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts’ Prometheus screenplay is generally considered to be the weakest element in Ridley Scott’s horror sci-fier that opened today in North America.
The World War Z plot has United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) trying to stave off the zombie menace that’s about to destroy the world. Pitt, last seen in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, is also one of the film’s producers. (Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company was also interested in the project at one point.)
In addition to Brad Pitt, World War Z also features The Killing‘s Mireille Enos, Lost‘s Matthew Fox, Shame‘s James Badge Dale, Eric West, and David Morse.
A while back, World War Z‘s release schedule was moved from Dec. 2012 to June 21, 2013. Last year, the movie ran into political problems of its own – though nothing related to zombies – when a cache of weapons with ties to the production were seized in Hungary.